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Feast Week, Day 5: The Feast of Tom Bombadil

This year I chose to do both Tom Bombadil feast nights because I liked the idea of challenging myself to make two separate amazing meals. The Bombadil feast nights are one of my favorites. It includes all the most delicious ingredients: yellow cream, honeycomb, white bread, butter, milk, cheese, green herbs and ripe berries.

Tom Bombadil

Tom Bombadil

Since there is quite a list of ingredients, I decided to pair some together in order to create a scrumptious dinner platter. Luckily I had some help with the meal, thanks to my main Elven man, Donovan. The best part about having a boyfriend who bakes, is having delicious fresh-baked bread on a regular basis. It’s like I have my own personal Peeta Mellark! The two of us decided to tailor the feast ingredients around his homemade bread.

To accompany the bread, I made clotted cream (in place of yellow cream) which paired with berry jam. I found some rich whipped butter and paired that with honey. And for the cheese and herbs, I bought a roll of garlic and herb goat cheese. On the side I added additional berries (blue berries, strawberries, and raspberries). It. Was. Phenomenal. And better yet, not too difficult to put together. (Ok, the bread did take quite a bit of time, but it was worth it!)

Feast of Tom Bombadil, Night 1

Feast of Tom Bombadil, Night 1

There was no bread recipe that Donovan followed. He made it from scratch! And being that he’s a nice guy, he’s allowed me to share the recipe with you lovely folks. Check out the recipe and directions below:

Donovan’s Old Forest White Bread

For the bread used in this meal, I decided to go for a simple recipe that would fit the “white bread” described in the text. Basically what I was going for was a simple bread that could make a nice base on which to add the clotted cream, butter, honey, berries, and other delightful things that go with this meal.

On this occasion, I also made the decision to hand-knead the bread. If you have a Kitchen-Aid with a dough-hook attachment or similar appliance you can also use that to knead the dough instead.

  • 4 Cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 4 Teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 & 1/2 Cups warm (but not hot) water
  • 2 Table Spoons of Honey
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt

Step 1: Dry Ingredients

I usually start out by measuring out the flour into a bowl or mixer. Once I have the required amount I will stir in the 1 teaspoon of salt into the flour.

Step 2: Activating the Yeast

Get a little warm water from the tap in a clear measuring cup. It’s important to not let the water get too hot, generally, around 105 to 110 degrees is fine, if you have a thermometer handy. If it gets too hot, there is a danger of killing off the yeast.  Next mix the two tablespoons of yeast into the warm water and stir until it is dissolved in the warm water. Lastly, add the yeast and stir gently before letting it stand for a couple of minutes.  After a minute or two, there should be a little bit of foam forming on the top layer of the water. This means the yeast is activating and is a good time to add it to your flour.

Step 3: Mixing Dry and Wet

Evenly mix the water into the flour until all the flour is incorporated into the dough.

Step 4: Kneading the Dough

Take a little bit of flour dust a flat surface to knead the dough on. A counter-top will do fine, or a large cutting board or dough board if you have one. On the flat surface,  begin to knead the dough by folding it in on itself. Add flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to your hands or the flat surface. About 15 or 20 minutes is sufficient for this process.

Note: To save a little time and effort you can use a mixer if it has a dough-hook attachment for kneading breads.

Step 5: Form into a loaf and bake

There are multiple shapes you can form the loaf into, but for simple loafs, I usually go with a round shape. After I finished kneading the dough I use my hands to form a round shape approximately 6-8 inches wide. I then use a knife to cut a cross shape in the top of the loaf as this both helps it rise and reportedly wards of evil.  You can also use a variety of thinks to actually back the loaf on, a cookie sheet or pizza pan, are all good options for a round loaf. A personal favorite of mine is a cast-iron skillet. Just make sure if you are using a cookie sheet it is not too thin as this can sometimes cause the crust on the underside to get too done.

Step Six: Let It Rise

Let the loaf rise for around 40 minutes to an hour, or until it has approximately doubled in size.

Step 7: Bake

Lastly, bake in the oven for 40 minutes at 375 degrees.

An optional step for a little bit of extra color is to add an egg wash to the top of the bread before putting it in to bake. This process is quite simple, just crack open and egg in a bowl, stir, and use a basting brush to apply the egg, gently, to the top of the loaf once it has finished rising just before you bake it.

If you enjoyed this recipe, or have one of your own you would like to share, post it in the comment section below. Donovan and I wish you all a fantastic Feast Week and a scrumptious Feast of Tom Bombadil!
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